Since 1978, China has emerged from being a predominantly agricultural economy to become the world's largest economic power. Over the same period, the proportion of its population living in cities has more than doubled, from one fifth of the population in 1978 to more than half the population. Today, one tenth of the world's population lives in Chinese cities. Over the past few years, there has been a growing concern over the sustainability of China's economic development, which confronts a host of challenges, both external and internal. In light of those challenges, it has been suggested by many commentators that, among other policy changes, China will have to shift from its dependence on exports to a greater focus on domestic consumption. In this article we suggest that what has been dubbed the 'new urbanisation' by Chinese authorities is a useful lens through which to assess both the opportunities and challenges facing China as it navigates a path to more sustainable economic growth over the next few decades. It also provides a counterbalance to those commentators who focus solely on China's growing military power as evidence of a rising China compared to the United States.
- economic transformation